Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

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An Economist’s View: Using Trade Data to Predict the Final Four

April 4, 2014

Natalie Soroka is an economist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Trade and Economic Analysis. She spends more time focusing on international trade statistics and trends than on basketball…

Economist Natalie Soroka used trade data and an unorthodox equation to predict the winner of the Final Four. Her prediction is Wisconsin beating Florida.

Economist Natalie Soroka used trade data and an unorthodox equation to predict the winner of the Final Four.

The emotional whirlwind of March Madness is nearing a close, with the Final Four teams getting ready to face off this Saturday. Brackets have been busted, face paint smeared with tears, hearts have been broken, and our Cinderellas have turned into pumpkins, but it’s not over yet!

Who will be victorious? Is there anything in the trade data that can give us a clue? Let’s give it a try, shall we?

Methodology:

One can reason that there are several aspects (“variables”, if you will) that can help a team attain the title of national champion:

  • skills or talent,
  • nutrition to keep players healthy,
  • healthcare and medicine to take care of injuries, and
  • supplies for actually playing the game.

In other words, to be a little “mathy” about it (just bear with me):

Winning = ƒ(skills, nutrition, healthcare, supplies) + ε

Translation: Winning is a function of the variables listed above, plus that little “ε” at the end, which would be the error term indicating that there are various things we aren’t able to account for (Mercer, anyone?).

So if we were to try and look at these four variables in an extremely simple analysis, using the very same publicly available data we use to counsel U.S. exporters, can we predict a winner?

 

Skills and Talent:

We may not have data readily available on “skill” or “talent,” but as these players are all represent educational institutions, we can assume that the state’s educational services industry plays a role.

Among the four states represented in the Final Four, Florida has the largest educational services industry by far, amounting to nearly $8 billion in 2012, topping Connecticut’s respectable $4.7 billion. On the Midwest/West side, Wisconsin’s $2.7 billion educational services industry tops Kentucky’s $1.1 billion.

But what about exports? After all, we are the International Trade Administration. The Institute of International Education collects information on foreign students hosted by U.S. universities, which can be used as a proxy for higher education exports. While not all players are international students, one could reason that a school (or state) that has international appeal is also one that would be able to pull the best talent.

Using the IIE’s data (which we also highlighted in a blog post last week), the University of Florida tops the list with 5,961 foreign students. The University of Wisconsin again has the upper hand over Kentucky here, with 5,291 international students. Finally, we can take into account each university’s seed at the beginning of the tournament as an indicator of the team’s record and other skills not captured above. Who comes out on top?

Winners:

University of Florida v. University of Connecticut: Florida

University of Wisconsin v. University of Kentucky: Wisconsin     

Nutrition:

Healthy eating makes for healthy people and athletes. Looking at state import data, Florida tops the list for its imports of products such as meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, and grains. However, isn’t Wisconsin in the Midwest, the home of those “amber waves of grain”? In fact, with its $4.5 billion farming industry in 2011, Wisconsin does come out on top among these states, followed by Florida, Kentucky, and Connecticut.

Finally, we can take a look at who imports the most processed foods, the “bad guy” du jour when it comes to health. Despite being known for its citrus fruits and water springs, Florida blows its competitors out of the water with $1.9 billion in processed foods imports in 2013, worsening its overall nutrition rating. Instead, Kentucky comes out on top with only $233 million of processed foods imports.

So who wins the “healthiness” battle? Looks like those amber waves really help.

Winners:             

University of Florida v. University of Connecticut: Florida

University of Wisconsin v. University of Kentucky: Wisconsin     

Healthcare:

As we’ve all seen, injuries sadly do occur. When these unfortunate events take place, good healthcare services and medical supplies are necessary to fix up young players and get them back on the court.

Again, we see Florida rising to the top over Connecticut with its $67.5 billion healthcare services industry in 2012, and Wisconsin topping Kentucky at $23.5 billion. With regards to medical supplies, Kentucky tops the rest of these states when it comes to imports of pharmaceutical products, with $4.6 billion of imports in 2013. However, for medical and surgical instruments, Florida again tops the list with nearly $2.3 billion of imports in 2013, followed by Wisconsin’s $1.5 billion of imports.

Overall, Florida wins on healthcare, driven by its large industry and imports of medical instruments.

Winners:             

University of Florida v. University of Connecticut: Florida

University of Wisconsin v. University of Kentucky: Wisconsin     

Sports Supplies:

What good is a basketball team if there’s no basketball to dunk?

Kentucky topped these states when it comes to imports of inflatable balls (including basketballs), at $35 million in 2013. As for other supplies, Wisconsin rose to the top in imports of athletic footwear, coming in at $70 million in 2013.

Finally, to keep the athletes in shape off the court, Wisconsin again topped the list with $105 million in imports of general gym equipment, pushing the state to the top of this category.

Winners:             

University of Florida v. University of Connecticut: Florida

University of Wisconsin v. University of Kentucky: Wisconsin     

So where does that leave us? If we average out the “scores” for each state/team, we wind up with one state’s economy pushing its team to the top:

University of Wisconsin (Go Badgers!)

However, if my personal bracket is any indication, that “little ‘ε’” isn’t quite so little, so you may be best off just throwing a dart and picking one at random. Generating purely random scores for the Final Four teams, we wind up with (……drumroll…….):

University of Florida (Yay Gators!)

Using random selection, Natalie's bracket points to Florida beating Kentucky in the championship.

How will this analysis fare? Will data help the Badgers win the day, or is the championship at the mercy of the court gods? I suppose there’s only one way to find out.

Enjoy the games!

 

No economists were harmed during the creation of this off-the-cuff and highly spurious analysis. The author drew on extensive basketball experience gained from middle-school gym class, casual sports viewership, and years of practice using the esteemed “mascot method” of bracket picking.

Domestic production data is the latest available from the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ Regional Economic Accounts. State import data was retrieved from ITA’s TradeStats Express platform: http://tse.export.gov/stateimports.

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Spotlight on Commerce: Kim Glas, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials, International Trade Administration

March 26, 2014

This post originally appeared on the Department of Commerce blog.

Kim Glas is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials in the International Trade Administration.

Kim Glas is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials in the International Trade Administration.

Serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Textiles, Consumer Goods, and Materials, my job is to improve the domestic and international competitiveness of the broad product range of U.S. textiles, footwear, consumer goods, metals and mining, forest products, and chemicals and plastics manufacturing sectors and industries. This position requires strong negotiation and problem-solving skills and the ability to work with a broad array of stakeholders with divergent opinions in order to find solutions on a whole host of issues.

Over the last 3 years, I have spent significant time at the negotiating table for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement to ensure opportunities under the agreement for U.S. textile and footwear producers. I coordinate within the ITA and across agencies to ensure we can deliver results for companies and the workers they employ. While the job has been challenging, it has been an incredibly rewarding opportunity. I have worked with top-notch staff across the Department and in the Administration who are driven to expanding opportunities for U.S. industries and workers.

Having worked in two Administrations and on Capitol Hill, I have always been driven by a mission to serve the American people and have been fortunate to do so throughout my career. Growing up, my parents, extended family, teachers, and mentors were incredibly supportive of me and instilled in me to work hard, serve others, and have a strong sense of self. I grew up in the close-knit community of Lockport, NY located near Buffalo during a time when many industries in the area were facing enormous economic hardships. Layoffs all too often were the front page news of the local paper. My high school experience reflected what was happening in the community – and I knew that I wanted to make it better.

When I went to college at the State University of New York at Geneseo, I thought I would serve my community by becoming a social studies teacher. The trajectory of my life changed when I took a history class with Dr. Bill Cook. As a grade conscious student, I knew taking a class with him all but assured I would not graduate at the top of my class – but I didn’t care. He brought history to life and connected it to our modern day political structure. When he ran for Congress in a campaign destined to lose, I followed him and decided I didn’t want to teach about government, I wanted to be an active participant in it. I believed in the community I grew up in and communities like it across the country and knew I wanted to serve.

The main driver of my career success has been the people I have met along the way. They are the reason I do what I do. They will continue to be my sense of purpose going forward. To understand yourself and the people around you, gives you an appreciation for those who share different perspectives or share common motivations.

I have always admired my distant cousin Amelia Earhart who pushed herself to soar above the clouds in unchartered territory and in doing so, broke the barriers of history. She once said, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do.” Seize the moment, push the envelope, know yourself, and never forget where you came from or the people on whose shoulders you stand.

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March Madness Earns an A in Economics

March 24, 2014

Chris Higginbotham is a Public Affairs Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs.

This infographic from the International Institute of Education shows that more than 819,000 international students studied in the United States in 2013.

Institute of International Education. (2013). Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. Retrieved from http://www.iie.org/opendoors

If you’re anything like me, you spent the weekend locked in front of the television, watching the NCAA Tournament. Hearts were broken (including mine), underdogs were victorious, and former champions were sent packing.

Perhaps the best part of it all is that we were supporting the U.S. economy the entire time!

Maybe you didn’t realize it, but the NCAA Tournament, one of the pinnacle sporting and cultural events in the United States, is a tremendous supporter of several export industries.

One obvious industry the Tournament supports is education. The athletes competing in this event are students representing some of America’s great universities.

The education industry is a huge part of the American economy, supporting jobs and fostering research and innovation.

Education is also a major service export. The United States has some of the world’s best universities, hosting hundreds of thousands of foreign students. Those students pay tuition and living expenses, including room and board, transportation, books, and health insurance. Since most of those expenditures come from sources outside the United States, they are considered exports.

Commerce data show that international students contributed a record $24.7 billion to the U.S. economy, part of a record $682 billion in services exports.

The NAFSA Association of International Educators says that education exports support 313,000 jobs in the United States, a 6.2 percent increase from 2012 and a crucial contributor to our economic growth.

Here are some more key highlights about education exports from the Institute of International Education:

·         A record 819,644 international students studied in the United States in 2012-2013;

·         The top two fields of study for international students are business and engineering;

·         The University of Southern California hosts the most foreign students, at 9,840.

Outside of the classroom, you’ll also see some international students competing on the basketball court.

The standout is Kansas University’s Andrew Wiggins, the Canadian player who was a top basketball recruit last year. There’s also NC State’s Jordan Vandenberg from Australia, UCLA’s Sooren Derboghosian from Iran, and Notre Dame’s Natalie Achonwa from Canada, among others.

As NAFSA points out, the benefits of international students studying in the United States last a lot longer than the road to the Final Four. Foreign students bring unique perspectives into American classrooms, broadening horizons for everyone involved. The relationships formed and cultural exchanges made help build bridges across borders.

So just remember the next time you watch a game, even if your team loses, you’re helping the U.S. economy win!

For more information about the education industry and how the International Trade Administration supports it, check out our updates on the ITA blog.

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ITA Focused on Expanding U.S. Business Opportunities in Iraq

March 19, 2014

Kevin Reichelt is an International Trade Specialist with the International Trade Administration’s Iraq and Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force.

Nearly four years after the end of military operations, Iraq has become an important destination for U.S. merchandise exports. U.S. exports to Iraq topped $2 billion in 2013, and U.S. companies invested more than $1.2 billion in Iraq.

The U.S.-Iraq Business Dialogue (USIBD) continues to support expanding the U.S.-Iraq commercial relationship by increasing U.S. exports and creating jobs in both countries.

Acting Under Secretary for International Trade Ken Hyatt and officials from Iraq’s Ministry of Trade convened an USIBD executive committee in Washington on March 4. Their discussion focused on increasing bilateral trade and investment in Iraq.

The USIBD was created in 2006 as an effort to integrate more American firms into the Iraq market. Now in its fourth installment, the USIBD continues to serve as an arena for open communication between U.S. and Iraq’s private sector members.

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U.S. Exporters: ITA Innovators are Here to Help!

March 14, 2014

Aileen Crowe Nandi is a Commercial Officer in San Jose California

As exporters’ needs change, we at ITA must adapt with them. The U.S. government – and our clients – faces myriad issues on a daily basis that require customized solutions. From helping a shipment of apples clear customs in South India to resolving a biotech regulatory barrier in Europe to assisting a small cloud reseller land deals in Ghana, we regularly tweak our services to assist each company with its unique set of issues. A “one-size-fits-all” technique does not apply to international trade.

To capitalize on our entrepreneurial objectives and to share and communicate even better across the Commercial Service (CS) – an organization spanning 100 domestic offices and 72 countries– we launched the Crowdsource (CS2) initiative. CS2 is designed to engage more employees at all levels by enabling them to propose and vote on ideas to change and/or improve how we help U.S. exporters. The winning ideas are then brought to senior agency leaders.

We structured CS2 as a quarterly “Pitchfest” competition, taking a cue from the dynamic venture capital industry. Colleagues are encouraged to submit short written, innovative proposals which are subsequently “crowdsourced” in a democratic voting process. The top three ideas then move on to an oral pitchfest.

The CS2 team, comprised of two International Trade Specialists (Melissa Branzburg, Boston, and Shari Stout, Peoria) and two Commercial Officers (Marianne Drain and myself), represents both the international and domestic units of our organization. Additionally, we have a cross-section of colleagues from HQ and the field (as far as Australia) to serve as “Interested Innovators” to judge the oral pitches to determine the final winner.

We began with the “B2B” theme, as it impacts the very core of how we help U.S. exporters. With fourteen B2B proposals and over 200 voters, the winning idea from the B2B pitchfest was the “Initial Market Check” (IMC), submitted by Heather Ranck in our North Dakota Export Assistance Center.

The IMC entails a fee-based service that would enable exporters to gain critical market insights for individual American companies (in the form of a short report) to determine whether to further pursue export opportunities in a given market. Though Heather had already been innovatively undertaking IMCs for her North Dakota clients, we are working with HQ to formalize the service to allow all colleagues to conduct IMCs for all exporters. Stay tuned for updates!

Our next pitchfest on “Commercial Intelligence” will take place on April 29th. What kind of commercial intelligence do YOU want from ITA? Your input will ensure that we are well positioned to facilitate your success in international markets.

With your input we can better provide the services you need to help your businesses succeed. We look forward to hearing your great ideas!

Aileen Nandi

Melissa Branzburg

Shari Stout

Marianne Drain

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President Obama’s FY 2015 Budget Proposes a $36.7 Million Increase for ITA

March 14, 2014

Ken Hyatt is the Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.A view of the front of US Department of Commerce Building Washington, D.C.

The International Trade Administration (ITA) staff works diligently to help U.S. businesses – small, medium, and large – sell their products and services across the globe, which helps grow the U.S. economy and improve our global competitiveness. President Obama highlighted the importance of ITA’s work through his FY 2015 budget request.

The President released his fiscal year 2015 budget last week, will full Commerce Department budget information and analyses released today. The FY15 budget included $497.3 million for ITA, which is a $36.7 million increase from the $460.6 million appropriated in 2014. This increase will allow us to better serve American businesses through expanding access to markets, ensuring a level playing field for doing business abroad and helping foreign companies invest in the U.S.

In addition, the budget includes a call from the President to rename ITA the International Trade and Investment Administration, a move that more accurately reflects the mission of our organization and acknowledges our ongoing efforts to attract foreign direct investment to the United States. It also more accurately reflects the mission of ITA and how we help create jobs, not just from exports, but from inward investment.

The United States is the largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the world. In 2012, FDI brought $160 billion into the United States economy. In addition, FDI supported more than 5.6 million jobs in the United States in 2011. That’s 4 percent of our total private sector employment.

The SelectUSA program is the first federal-wide effort to promote and facilitate business investment as an engine for job growth and economic development. It serves as the single point of contact at the national level to help international and domestic firms grow and invest in the United States.

With more money and a more accurate name for our institution, we are confident we’ll help even more American businesses grow and create jobs through our many resources and services! If your business is ready to start exporting or re-shoring, take a look at our website to get started making the most of international markets.

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One Shining BEAM of Export Cooperation

February 14, 2014

Kentucky Mayors Greg Fischer of Louisville and Jim Gray of Lexington launched the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement (BEAM) in 2011. This initiative brings together the 22 counties that include and surround these cities through a strategic partnership, implementing a regional economic development approach for the state’s two largest metropolitan areas.

In 2012, the Mayors followed BEAM with the “Build it Locally/Sell it Globally” initiative to increase export successes by 50 percent in five years. This focus on exporting is a key aspect of BEAM’s broader goal to promote growth among the region’s businesses.

BEAM is unique among regional export promotion programs in that it is a collaborative effort between two leaders. The mayors’ approach exemplifies their belief that sharing economic growth rather than competing for it, is the best way to build the future for the region.

Research shows that exporting firms – whether in manufacturing or services – grow faster and can afford to pay their workers better than non-exporting firms. By promoting exports, Mayors Fischer and Gray are taking a key step to support better jobs and stronger growth in the region.

Kentucky is already a leader among states in exporting. It is one of 16 states to have broken its own merchandise export record in 2013, having exported more than $25 billion in goods during the year.

Mayors Fischer and Gray were kind enough to answer a few questions about the initiative:

ITA: What role do exports play in the economies of Louisville and Lexington, and in Kentucky overall?

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer

Louisville, Ky. Mayor Greg Fischer

Mayor Fischer: Exports play a critical role in our regional and state economy. Exports throughout our state have surged to all-time highs. We have large companies that are robust exporters such as Ford, Lexmark, and Yum! Brands that sell into markets throughout the world.

However, 90 percent of Kentucky’s exporters are small to mid-sized firms. In total, the BEAM region produced $14.8 billion in exports in 2012, which is a five percent increase from 2011. Our regional exports perform strongly as a percentage of Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP), accounting for 16 percent of GMP in 2012.

We’re ahead of the national average, as U.S. exports in 2012 accounted for 13 percent of national Gross Domestic Product. We’re very pleased with our progress and expect more great results ahead.

ITA: One goal of the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement is to increase export successes by 50 percent in five years, measured by the number of companies that expand to new foreign markets or begin selling out of the U.S for the first time. What effects will that kind of expansion have in your cities?

Mayor Gray: Kentucky is primarily made up of small businesses. Many of these companies could be expanding their sales internationally. Two-thirds of Kentucky’s companies have fewer than 20 employees, many of which could be exporting but aren’t or could be exporting to more markets.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray

Lexington, Ky. Mayor Jim Gray

Our “Build it Locally/Sell it Globally” export initiative focuses primarily on small business export expansion. Through this initiative a team has worked with trade partners to conduct effective outreach to a target list of smaller companies, selected for exportability, headquartered location in Kentucky and size. We want these small businesses to know about the locally available trade resources to assist their export needs.

Our team has been able to connect companies to trade education resources, market research opportunities, and information about trade missions and trade shows.

Recently, we announced a $200,000 award from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to create the BEAM-Kentucky Export Promotion program. This one-of-a-kind initiative supports small businesses by providing them financial support to access export and business development resources to expand international sales. You can read more about this work here: http://bit.ly/KyBEAM

ITA: Export expansion has been a major priority under the National Export Initiative. How do initiatives like BEAM translate into national export expansion and improvement in the overall economy?

Mayor Fischer: The National Export Initiative was an inspiration to stakeholders around the country. It set a big goal and inspired many of us to step up our game.

New research has revealed compelling evidence about exports at the metro level. We all know that metro governments are positioned in the new economy to play a pivotal role in fostering innovation, economic development and driving sustainable practices. Metro areas dominate exports at the state level, generating more than 90 percent of exports in 11 states. The BEAM region counts for 53% of the state’s total exports. Here in Kentucky, our Governor organized early following the launch of the NEI to form the Kentucky Export Initiative (KEI). The KEI has brought together the state’s leading trade organizations to streamline support for companies  throughout the state. Once the Metropolitan Export Initiative (MEI) was formed, Mayor Gray and I worked to get added to the cohort of cities working with the Brookings Institution. The MEI afforded us new data tools and a guide on how to develop an export plan suited to our regional goals and pursuits.

All of these initiatives have helped our region and state come together to effectively address problems that have affected businesses. As organizations have worked together to make their resources maximally effective, businesses have received streamlined and accessible support.

ITA: How are other officials throughout the state helping? State officials, local leaders, etc?

Mayor Gray: By partnering with our local U.S. Commercial Service offices in Louisville and Lexington, the World Trade Center Kentucky, our state and regional chambers, along with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Kentucky Small Business Development Centers, we have received great support from officials and many other organizations throughout Kentucky. Staff for the “Build it Locally/Sell it Globally” initiative have worked with trade partners to host export educational seminars for chamber and economic development professionals. Outreach has been conducted to businesses around the BEAM region, an effort supported by partners at the local, state and federal levels. This is a collaborative effort and we feel the importance of working with all involved every day.

ITA: What do you say to Kentucky business leaders who aren’t currently exporting?

Mayor Fischer: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: “If you’re a small business that isn’t exporting but your competitors are, they are going to eat your lunch.” We operate in a global economy. Exporting is the expectation.

In our region, while we’re known for specializations in bourbon and equine, we also export mattresses, security locks, dental equipment, disco balls and ceiling fans; and more than a few cars and home appliances.

About 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the U.S. and more than 80 percent of growth is happening outside Europe or North America. If your company wants to be in business ten, twenty years from now, you’re best positioned by having sales in foreign markets. The world is waiting for you.

ITA: Mayors around the country are working hard to support local and regional economies. What’s your advice to them?

Mayor Gray: Invest in small business growth opportunities. Focus on growing what you have in your region and expanding opportunities through intentional and strategic, cross functionally aligned initiatives. Look at models for success. Learn from Mayors and other elected officials who are doing things that work around the country. Spend time with national thought leaders. And set big but realistic goals that are measurable and inclusive.

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Make Your Summer Count with an ITA Internship

January 31, 2014

Chris Higginbotham is a Public Affairs Specialist in the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs (he used writing samples from his internship to get this job).

Our office in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City is looking for interns with a variety of backgrounds and experience. Image shows the Statue of Liberty.

Our office in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City is looking for interns with a variety of backgrounds and experience. (photo courtesy U.S. National Park Service)

I’ve been there. Many of us have.

It’s January and you’re a college student. Maybe you’re a junior; or maybe you are already in grad school . Either way, there’s a nagging thought in the back of your head:

What am I doing at the end of the semester?

You’re friends are talking about internships and they probably sound cooler than anything you’ve thought of, so you make a list…

“Things I want in my 2014 summer internship:

  • Work someplace cool;
  • Make a difference;
  • Get some real-world experience;
  • Utilize and improve my skillset;
  • Work toward getting a job.”

Good news: the International Trade Administration (ITA) can hit all of those bullets.

Want to work someplace cool and help make a difference? We have 108 offices around the country and in 72 countries around the world. We have offices on both sides of the equator and in both hemispheres. If you like the beach, you can apply to work with our teams in Miami, Honolulu, or Lisbon. There’s also always the headquarters here in Washington, D.C., where you could work in offices like the Advocacy Center, the Trade Compliance Office, or  the Office of Public Affairs (I’m biased, but public affairs can be pretty awesome).

Whatever your major is, it probably fits in with a part of the ITA mission. We support U.S. businesses in the global marketplace, so we need students who are studying business, international relations, marketing, communication, foreign languages, regional studies, economics, and more. That means you’ll be able to apply what you’re learning in school to what you’ll be doing on our team.

Perhaps more importantly, an internship with us means you’ll be supporting the U.S. economy. Exports support nearly ten million American jobs – one of which may be your future job. Your work could help a business find a new market to sell its product or services, or could help a company overcome a trade barrier.

So how do you find out all of the internship opportunities ITA has to offer? Our website is a good place to start. Check out all of our office locations, many of which have pages explaining how to apply for internships.

You should also follow us on social media, where we’ll be sharing a lot of specific internship opportunities during the next few weeks. We’re on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. If you have questions, those platforms are great places for you to ask!

Best of luck to all of you this semester. We offer internships throughout the year, so keep ITA in mind as you look for a great place to start your career!

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One Shining Moment for American Exports

March 18, 2013

Francisco Sanchez is the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Uder Secretary Sanchez has Louisville, Indiana, Ohio State and Kansas in his Final Four. He picked Louisville to beat Indy for the championship. Notable upsets include Harvard making the Sweet 16 and Wisconsin knocking out Gonzaga to make the Elite 8.

Francisco Sanchez picked Louisville as the 2013 NCAA basketball champion.

I may not be the biggest basketball fan.

Still I, like so many Americans, spent some time Sunday night predicting the outcomes of one of our country’s great traditions – the NCAA Basketball Tournament. You may well have been doing the same thing; the NCAA Tournament bracket is a ubiquitous image, appearing on countless office walls and bedroom doors all over the country.

Now I may not regularly cheer for basketball, but I’m a huge fan of exports. And what you may not have realized when you filled out your bracket is that you were, in fact, supporting American exports.

It’s true: The television licensing for the tournament, the apparel licensing for universities, and the education industry itself are all American export industries, supporting thousands of American jobs.

As the NCAA Basketball Tournament is a great American tradition, exports are also a great tradition for us at the International Trade Administration. So over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing some information with you that shows how this celebrated American custom ties into American exports, thereby supporting the American economy.

Before we kick that off, we have our own fun office competition to share with all of you:

As you may know, we have Export Assistance Centers (EACs) all over the country to help U.S. businesses compete globally. Well, we asked the four offices closest to the four #1 seeds in the tournament to fill out a bracket on Selection Sunday to post on our blog. I’m submitting mine for competition as well. So here are the participating offices representing the top seeds and their brackets:

How does your bracket stack up to each of ours? How are you going to be supporting exports during this year’s tournament? Let us know here or get involved in the conversation on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to support your team and American exports as we crown national champions in men’s and women’s college basketball this year.

Be sure to check back on the blog as we highlight just how much of an impact American pastimes like March Madness contribute to American exports. No matter who wins, the U.S. is always the champ when we support exports.

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President Obama Prescribes Increase in U.S. Exports to Support Economic Growth

February 13, 2013

Francisco Sánchez serves as the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. 

Archived photo showing Congress during 2011 State of the Union Address.President Obama made it clear in his State of the Union address that American exports will play a part in America’s economic success. This requires creating free access for American goods to more markets, enforcing trade laws, and ensuring a level playing field in which American companies can compete.

These initiatives have and will continue to support business and create jobs. Over the last 35 months, they’ve already contributed to the creation of 6.1 million private-sector jobs. We at the International Trade Administration are proud to be a part of that success and we know that continuing these initiatives will lead to further economic growth.

The President specifically mentioned completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership and entering into a trade agreement with the European Union. Trade agreements like these proved effective in 2012, when we set a new record for U.S. exports. Recently released data show that almost half of the growth in U.S. exports in 2012 was to countries with which we have similar agreements. In fact, U.S. exports to the 20 countries with which we have trade agreements comprised almost half of American goods exports in 2012.

We achieved record levels of exports to 11 of our trade agreement partners in 2012. Five of them – Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Peru – will all be a part of the TPP and accounted for more than $550 billion in U.S. exports. Completing this partnership will further develop our trade with these countries and help our exports continue to grow.

As Deputy Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank explained today, a trade agreement with the EU “will support good-paying American jobs and will expand our trade and investment relations, strengthen our economy, and create new opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic.”

President Obama also mentioned the importance of enforcing trade regulations and ensuring a level playing field in which American exporters can compete. We accomplish this mission every day at ITA, and we are proud to help American exporters compete as a lead member of the President’s Interagency Trade Enforcement Center.

The President has set a clear path to use export growth to help grow the American economy. We at the International Trade Administration are ready to do what it takes to continue to support President Obama’s mission and help support a thriving American economy.

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